Finding the Sweet Spot!
Finding a good spot for your camera is crucial to your scouting success. You can get the best trail camera in the world, but if you put it in an area where the animals stay away from, it won’t do you any good. You will get better and better at finding spots as you gain more experience, but there are a few things you can pay attention to that will help you from the very beginning.
Trail and error will come into play as well. There will undoubtedly be times where you will see fresh tracks in the area of your camera, then find no pictures. Simple adjustments or tweaks to your placement will usually fix this pretty quickly. As always, the best tip when hanging your camera is going to be to try and mask your scent with some kind of eliminator. Just be careful not to hide it from yourself!
Once you have found a spot to hang the trail cam, you can usually hang them in a matter of moments with some of these newer cameras. With all of the advancements in technology though, there is still nothing (yet!) that can tell you where to hang it. Here are a couple of tips that I use.
Tips for finding a spot to hang your trail cam:
- The most obvious tip is that if you live in an area where you get snow, get out there immediately after the first snowfall. You will be able to see the trails and directions the animals use, as well as finding areas they congregate in with relative ease. It’s almost like cheating!
- Try to walk about 15 minutes or so in from any roads or public (high human traffic areas). The deer are just more comfortable moving around these lesser traveled areas.
- Find a food source. A natural one would obviously be great, but a (camouflaged) feeder or a planted food plot would be fine too. I’m not suggesting you hunt there, though. You can just use the area as a reference to see “who” is around. Check to be sure it is legal in your area.
- If you live in a hot area, find a water source. There is no better spot than a watering hole on a HOT summer day!
- If you can, combine the areas. A spot where a known trail converges onto a food or water source would be the ideal place to hang your trail camera.
- If trying to watch a rub or a scrape area you should always place the camera above the deer’s eye level. They obviously don’t know what a trail camera is, but will quickly abandon an area if they get flashes in their eyes. The idea of placing it above is that it will sort of mimic lightening….something the animals are already used to. You can wedge an appropriate sized stick behind the top of the trail camera to get it to face downwards.
Keep these in mind when you head for the first few times and then just pay attention to the pictures. Take some notes, as that will be the most efficient way to improve from year to year.